The Price We Pay (2022)
Directed by: Ryuhei Kitamura
Written by: Christopher Jolley
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Erika Ervin, Gigi Zumbado, Jesse Kinser, Stephen Dorff, Tanner Zagarino, Tyler Sanders, Vernon Wells
THE PRICE WE PAY (2022)
Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura
Screened at Grimmfest 2022
On UK digital on 16 October 2023
After their driver rides off in their getaway vehicle, a group of thieves take a young woman hostage from the pawn shop they just robbed so they can evade the police as she drives them to safety. When the car breaks down on a deserted stretch of road, they find solace at a nearby ranch. Unfortunately for them, they’ve just walked into a living nightmare…
Directed by Ryûhei Kitamura, responsible for Versus and The Midnight Meat Train, THE PRICE WE PAY bursts onto the scene as a heist movie before turning into something much more sinister.
Emile Hirsch plays unhinged thief Alex, a guy who’s unpredictability puts him at odds with the group’s leader, former field medic soldier Cody (Stephen Dorff). Cody’s cool-headed approach manages to reign in Alex, if only for a little while, which is just as well as the duo find themselves lumbered with Alex’s brother who’s injured during the pawn shop robbery. With a wounded member leaving them at a disadvantage, and with a hostage in tow, they know that they need to finish the job quickly and get the stolen money to their boss before Alex’s brother succumbs to his injuries. However, with a police manhunt launched, they need to lay low and what better place than a quiet ranch in the middle of nowhere.
With the opening scene depicting a terrifying kidnapper stalking petrol stations at night, we know that at some point we’re going to meet this twisted individual, so when the robbers and hostage Grace end up arriving at the ranch, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they’ve entered the lair of the film’s true villain. Even though it’s not necessarily a surprise to the viewer, it’s nerve-wracking watching the characters on-screen slowly discover the mess they’ve found themselves in. They’d have been better handing themselves into the police!
The story gleefully thrives on carnage but our band of thieves won’t go down without a fight, and neither will unwilling hostage Grace (Gigi Zumbado). Although we can’t really feel sorry for the robbers, as they themselves are scumbags, they are the lesser of two evils in what turns out to be a sick and twisted hellhole.
As eyes are gouged, organs are ripped out and brains are bashed with an electrified baseball bat, the chances of the characters getting out alive are slim. Safe to say that THE PRICE WE PAY feeds on savagery and pain. Not for the squeamish, the film has a gritty nastiness to it with the film’s antagonists capable of more horrors than anyone could ever have imagined. I mean, it’s not every day you rock up to a ranch owned by a ‘grandfather’ that is worse than the thieves that have landed on their doorstep.
Vicious with an industrial sleaze to it, THE PRICE WE PAY is one of the movies on offer at Grimmfest that firmly fits into the horror slot. Whilst there’s brutality aplenty, the story fades into a familiar rhythm that is entertaining enough for torture gore hounds but doesn’t really do enough to make it stand out from the rest of the genre it shares.